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State of the Union: Pennsylvania, WSOP, Oklahoma and more

Insight | Analysis

This week’s State of the Union, in partnership with Segev LLP, covers Covid-19-hit March revenue figures from Pennsylvania and Delaware, as well as the cancellation of the 2020 World Series of Poker and two controversial new tribal compacts in Oklahoma.

PA gambling revenue halves in March amid Covid-19 shutdowns
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) saw gambling revenue in the state more than half in March due to the widespread shutdown of casinos and postponement of sports events as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Revenue for the month – comprising land-based table games and slots, online casino, sports betting, fantasy sports and video gaming terminals – amounted to $153.5m, down by 51.5% from $316.3m in March 2019. The monthly total was also 49.6% lower than the $304.3m recorded in February this year.

The PGCB noted declines across all verticals, with the exception of online casino, which has remained unaffected by the pandemic. Sports betting also saw growth, despite many sporting events having been postponed or cancelled, significantly limiting betting options for punters.

WSOP 2020 postponed amid Covid-19 pandemic
Organisers of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) have announced that the 2020 edition of the tournament will be postponed due to the global outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

The 51st WSOP had been due to begin with an event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Nevada, in the US on May 26, but will no longer take place as scheduled.

Organisers have said that they hope to begin staging events in the autumn of this year, though the exact dates and events will not be determined until a later date, with several changes expected.

Oklahoma Governor signs Class III compacts with two tribal casinos
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has signed new gaming compacts with the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation to allow the tribes to offer Class III games, including sports betting.

However, the state’s tribal gaming association argued that the agreement was based on an erroneous claim of “unilateral state authority”, and would therefore exacerbate an ongoing dispute between the tribes and Stitt.

The compacts last 15 years each and must be ratified by the US Department of the Interior before they may come into effect.

Delaware sports betting revenue down in March
The Delaware Lottery has reported a year-on-year fall in sports betting revenue for March, but the $571,486 generated by operators during the month was higher than the total collected in February 2020.

Revenue in the five weeks to March 20 was down 64.3% from $1.6m last year, but when looking at the results on a month-on-month basis, revenue was up an impressive 257.6% from $159,800 in the previous month.

Players wagered a total of $3.9m on sports in March, a huge drop from $10.5m in the same month last year, though betting options were significantly limited due to the cancellation of many sporting events as a result of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

IGT and WH launch revamped sportsbook in Rhode Island
International Game Technology (IGT) and William Hill have overhauled their digital sports betting product Sportsbook Rhode Island, with a enhanced versions of the mobile app and website now live for customers.

The new app and site offer a more streamlined experience, including an expanded wagering menu and the option to fund customer accounts with debit cards. Previously account payments could only be made using eChecks.

A new app interface, powered by IGT’s PlaySports technology, has improved the navigation design for live and upcoming sporting events and a more efficient wagering process that speeds up the process from selecting to placing bets.

SBTech and Wynn among latest Colorado licensees
Colorado’s Limited Gaming Control Commission has awarded a further round of sports betting licenses, with SBTech, Betfred and Churchill Downs among the latest to be approved, while the state remains on track to launch from May 1.

Yesterday’s (16 April) commission meeting saw sports betting master licenses handed to American Gaming Group’s (AGG) Wildwood Casino, while GF Gaming Corporation was approved to offer betting at The Famous Bonanza and Easy Street Casinos.

Grand Z Casino, Johnny Z Casino and Z Casino Black Hawk also received master licenses.

Nevada expands esports betting options
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has approved betting on five new esports events.

Consumers in the state can now bet on this year’s Call of Duty League, Overwatch League and the North America League Championship Series (NA LCS), European Championship and European Masters in League of Legends.

BetMGM partners SportCaller for new trivia game
Free-to-play games provider SportCaller has agreed a deal with BetMGM to provide a series of daily trivia games to the operator.

The games will feature 10 questions, with a 10-second time limit each, with a $500 prize for winners. The prize is shared if there are multiple winners.

SG poaches Aristocrat’s Schneider for product officer role
Scientific Games has announced the appointment of Aristocrat’s Rich Schneider as its new chief product officer, effective from mid-2021.

In is new role, Schneider will oversee Scientific Games’ product strategy, define research and development roadmaps and further enhance the business’s market position.

Anti-gambling charity calls for 30-day lottery suspension
Anti-gambling charity Stop Predatory Gambling has sent a letter to officials in all states with lotteries, calling on the states to stop lottery sales for 30 days as the US deals with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The organisation said the payments must be stopped for at least 30 days after Americans receive their $1,200 federal stimulus payments in order to prevent those who need to spend the money elsewhere from spending it on lotteries.

SG pens long-term deal with South Carolina Education Lottery
Scientific Games has expanded its long-term relationship with the South Carolina Education Lottery after securing a new six-year contract with the organisation.

Under the new agreement, the Lottery will have access to the Scientific Games Enhanced Partnership (SGEP) program to responsibly drive maximum profits for educational programs in South Carolina.

IGT to power Circa’s sports betting app in Colorado
International Game Technology (IGT) has agreed a deal to power Circa Sports’ mobile sports betting application in Colorado.

Under the agreement, IGT will provide its PlaySports platform for the new Circa Sports offering, allowing consumers in the state to place bets on mobile.

DraftKings partners with Inspired to launch virtual sports
DraftKings is to launch virtual sports in partnership with Inspired Entertainment to help fell the void left by the cancellation of sporting events around the world.

Under the agreement, Inspired will provide its new V-Play Plug & Play end-to-end online virtual sportsbook product to allow DraftKings to integrate its range of virtual sports products.

Traffic Puma rolls out new US-facing affiliate site
Online marketing specialist Traffic Puma has expanded its reach into the US by launching a new affiliate website in the country. will offer a range of online casino information, advice and help to players, with the aim of helping its partners introduce new products to the market.